Autism Symptoms Checklist: Know If You Have Any
Autism spectrum disorder is a complication associated with brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing social interaction and communication problems. People with autism may also experience limited and repetitive patterns of behavior.
The term "spectrum" in the autism spectrum means a wide range of symptoms and severity.
Some of the conditions were considered separate from autism, but now they come under the autism spectrum, such as Asperger's syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, and an uncertain form of pervasive developmental disorder.
People still consider Asperger's syndrome and autism spectrum alike, but that's not the case.
What Percent Of The Population Has Autism?
- Almost 1 out of 54 children have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), says CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.
- Such disorder is reported to occur in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups.
- Autism is 4 times more common among boys as compared to girls.
- Almost 1 out of 6 (17%) children aged (3–17) years were diagnosed with a developmental disability, as reported by parents, during a study period of 2009-2017. These included autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, blindness, and cerebral palsy, among others.
Why Is Autism So Common?
Autism spectrum disorder is a combination of complex conditions and cannot be determined through a single known cause. Since it is a combination of complications, there are many possible causes behind the autism spectrum, such as:-
- Genetics: Many various genes are usually involved in autism spectrum disorder. Such as, for some children, autism spectrum disorder may be linked with genetic disorders, like Rett syndrome or fragile X syndrome. Whereas, for other children, genetic changes (mutations) increases the risk of autism spectrum disorder. Although, other genes may affect brain development, the way of communicating the brain cells, or determining the severity of symptoms. Some genetic mutations may be inherited, whereas others occur spontaneously.
- Environmental factors: When it comes to the environmental factor, researchers are still exploring some factors, such as viral infections, medications, pregnancy complications, or air pollutants play a role in triggering autism spectrum disorder.
How Can You Tell If Someone Has Autism?
Possible Most Common Symptoms
People with autism experience symptoms, such as:-
- Unfit to respond to their name by 12 months of age
- Not able to point out objects to show interest by 14 months
- Not able to play games by 18 months, they try and pretend
- Avoiding eye contact and wants to be alone
- Faces difficulty in understanding others feelings or even talking about their own feelings.
- Usually have slow speech and language skills
- Difficulty in speaking and repeats words or phrases over and over again (echolalia).
- Give unrelatable answers to questions
- Gets upset because of minor changes
- Having obsessive interests
- Behavior like flapping their hands, rocking their body, or spinning in circles
- Giving unusual reactions to some sound, smell, taste, look or feel
Complications with social skills are something that is the most common symptom among the autism spectrum. People with an autism spectrum do not have just social “difficulties” like shyness; there are some more problems that are related to daily activity, such as:-
- Unable to respond to name by 12 months of age
- Avoids eye-contact
- Prefers to play alone
- Does not share interests with others
- Only interacts to achieve the desired goal
- Inappropriate facial expressions
- Unable to understand personal space boundaries
- Prevents physical contact
- Uncomfortable during distress
- Difficulty in understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
- Feeling retired in speaking and language skills.
- Difficulty in speaking and repeats words or phrases over and over again (echolalia)
- Difficulty in pronouncing (e.g., says “you” instead of “I”)
- Uncertain reply to questions
- Difficulty in responding
- Have introvert gestures(e.g., does not wave goodbye)
- Usually talks in a flat, robot-like, or sing-song voice.
- Does not understand jokes, sarcasm, or teasing
Unusual interests and behavior
- Lines up toys or other objects
- Regular with daily habits, such as plays with toys the same way every time
- Too much organized
- Gets upset by minor issues
- Has obsessive interests
- Works in certain routines
- Hyperactivity (very active)
- Impulsivity (acting without thinking)
- Short attention span
- Causing self-injury
- Temper tantrums
- Unappropriate eating and sleeping habits
- Inappropriate mood or emotional reactions
- The feeling of no fear or more fear than expected
- Unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look or feel
How Is Autism Diagnosed?
Since the autism spectrum has various symptoms, it is a bit difficult to diagnose it. However, there is no specific medical test to diagnose the disorder. Rather the medical science has some other specialist, such as:-
- Try to observe the child, his social interactions, behaviors, approach to other people and things, and communication skills that change with time.
- Test the child's hearing, speech, language, developmental level, social, and behavioral issues.
- Try to know the child's social and communication interactions.
- Go through the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association.
- You can also consult with specialists to better determine the diagnosis.
- Do make sure you do not suffer from a genetic disorder, such as Rett syndrome or fragile X syndrome.
What Is The Most Effective Treatment For Autism?
If your child is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder(ASD), consult with the experts regarding creating a treatment strategy and building a team of professionals to meet their needs. Here are some treatment options for autism, such as:-
Behavior and communication therapies: Such therapies address the range of social, language, and behavioral difficulties associated with an autism spectrum disorder(ASD). Some of the programs focus on reducing problem behaviors and teaching new skills. While other programs focus on teaching children in order to improve their social and communicating skills with others, applied behavior analysis (ABA) helps children learn new skills and generalize these skills in multiple situations through a reward-based motivation system. This will motivate the child to learn.
Educational therapies: Children with autism spectrum disorder(ASD) usually respond well to highly structured educational programs. Such educational programs include a team of specialists with various activities to improve behavior, communication, and social skills. However, preschool children receiving intensive, individualized behavioral interventions often progress.
Family therapies: This is one of the best possible ways to treat autism in children. In this therapy, parents and other family members need to learn how to play and interact with their children in their ways. Try teaching them how to interact socially, manage the problem, and daily living skills along with communication.
Other therapies: Some fundamental skills need to be taught, which will further help them develop other skills. Such improving communication skills will help the child build good social skills and confidence level, consequently helping him grow more. In case you face any problem, you can refer to a psychologist that will help you address problem behaviors if any.
Medications: Autism is a psychological and behavioral disorder and cannot be treated ideally only with the help of medicine. But there are alternatives to it.
Few medications can control or reduce the signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorder(ASD). For example, if the child is hyperactive, medications, such as antidepressants, resolve severe behavioral problems.